William Jones has farming in his blood. He comes from rural background (outside of Hastings) and had worked in variety of farming jobs since leaving school. But lower back injury and chronic back pain led to point where he could no longer carry on in such work, and in February 1999 he was forced to stop.
Giving up farm work was tough, and not knowing what he would do next was even tougher. Jones is married with two young sons and he wanted to get back to work, so he could help support his family.
When Jones’ ACC case manager referred him to Workbridge he didn’t know what to expect. He had no idea what job he could do, and no clear picture of the type of job he wanted. He knew he liked working outdoors and he loved animals, but all the options he could think of were out of the question due to his back injury.
It was in discussions with Workbridge placement coordinator Lynne Cornish that he started to make progress.
“Lynne got me to look at what I enjoyed doing and then showed me big list of jobs. An animal control officer was on the list and it sounded interesting,” says Jones. “Lynne got in touch with the Hastings District Council and arranged for me to do week’s voluntary work to see if it was right for me.
At about this time, the Council was looking at employing another animal control officer, so Jones applied for the job. The fact that he had done the voluntary work was plus, as he’d proved he could do the job and get along with the other staff.
Today he patrols parks, beaches and reserves and has his own “territory” outside of Hastings. The job involves controlling cattle and sheep which have got out on to the roads, and dealing with animal bites, strays, barking and other emergencies.
“I guess you could say I had foot in the door,” says Jones about the voluntary work which led to his new job.
By Grant Aldridge, Workbridge at work.